If one thing’s for certain, it’s that no matter how good our deeds are, they can always be a little better. That’s why on Earth Day 2008, we unveiled a set of principles that continue to guide all of our service events today—we call it the “GREEN Service Standard”. It’s a handy little reminder of how we can make our service events reflect Timberland values and beliefs even more.
So, what is the GREEN Standard, exactly? And how does it apply to our events? Let’s take a look at an event we participated in right in our own backyard of Dover, NH, at the Horne Street School. The project was conceived to help the school improve its grounds. Timberland employees spent a day at the Horne Street School in April 2011 as part of our Earth Day activities. Here’s an overview of how the GREEN Standard was applied.
G—Grassroots. All of our service projects will grow from the knowledge and needs of local communities.
The Parent-Teacher Group in Dover was the primary initiator of the event. They wanted to restore the landscape of one of their public elementary schools to the same level of a newly renovated school down the street. They came to us for help.
R—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Whenever possible, we use recycled and repurposed materials, and then recycle all recyclable waste from our projects.
One of the elements to the project was to build a low ropes obstacle course for the kids. We sourced some old tires and reclaimed cinderblocks to aid in the construction. Not only did this save money, but it saved some space in the local landfill, too.
E—Engagement. We work with service partners to engage community members in projects to ensure the community contributes and has ownership over the long term.
Because of the amount of work and materials needed, we worked to get help from local construction workers and their unions, parents, teachers, community members and local businesses–all which helped provide over $10,000 worth of goods and materials needed to complete the project. We also invited these same community members to to participate in the project on Earth Day—a great way for the community to be part of the process.
E—Education. We make sure that everyone involved with the projects—from employees to partners and community members—understands why the projects are important and how they will be sustained.
The parents, teachers and students were taught how to grow food in the new garden (see “N” next!), and how to maintain the results of the project so others will enjoy it for years to come.
N—Neutral. We aim to take on projects that have a neutral impact on the environment, including those that can be easily accessed by public transportation or carpooling.
A big area of the school’s landscape was transformed into a vegetable garden, which not only produced fruit and vegetables used for the school, but reduced the amount of mowing area on the grounds, lowering gas usage and carbon emissions. Also, 15% of the Timberland volunteers carpooled or biked to the event.
The GREEN Standard is a cornerstone of our approach to service. Our Global Stewards around the globe ensure that all our projects align with The Standard—whether it’s in New England, New York, Europe, Asia or anyplace else on the planet.